Prep roundup: At last, Panthers beat Menendez
The Palatka High School boys soccer team caught a lucky star Thursday night at home against Menendez.
For the first time in its history, the Panthers defeated the Falcons, 4-3, in a District 4-3A matchup, the first for PHS.
Zak Borom delivered the winning goal for the Panthers with 15 minutes left, when he took a loose ball, beat a couple of defenders and launched 30-yard rocket that beat the Falcons goalie for the go-ahead goal. From there, the Panthers defense and midfield, anchored by center-midfielders Caleb Herrington and Felix Aboytes, made the lead stand up for the big victory.
Senior William Clevenger, making his starting debut in the net, stopped 10 shots to earn the win.
The win also was the first for new Panthers coach Jeff Malandrucco.
“I didn’t like the formation we put out there in the last game,” said Malandrucco, whose Panthers lost their opener at Interlachen, 4-1. “So we changed the formation and did a minor tweak to it. We let our midfielders work with our offense instead of staying back. It was a tactical change in going back to a 4-4-2 formation. And it was successful.
“To see the guys’ faces smiling and them saying that they had never beaten Menendez before, it felt good.”
Keonte Shack, who had played most of his young career in net and began Tuesday’s opener in goal, contributed two goals, while Zach Dixon added another goal that saw the Panthers take a 3-2 lead at halftime. Herrington added an assist.
“It’s a big win for us, but we’re still taking it game by game,” Malandrucco said. “We’ll build through youth with this team.”
n Speaking of coaching newcomers, Jeff Lease made it 2-0 as Crescent City’s mentor after the Raiders ripped Fort White, 8-0, in a District 5-2A match.
Axel Ocampo and Alex Galvan scored twice, Jose Mancillo had a goal and three assists, Renato Garcia had a goal and two assists and Ivan Hurtado and Enrique Espinoza put in a goal each. Manny Dominguez, Jose Albaran and Fernando Cruz added assists for the Raiders (2-0 overall, 2-0 in district).
Max Aboytes and Elias Segura combined on the shutout without seeing a single shot on net. The Raiders finish the week by facing district rival Gainesville P.K. Yonge tonight at home.
n Three goals late in the first half broke a scoreless tie and helped visiting St. Augustine St. Joseph Academy take down Interlachen, 3-1, handing the Rams their first loss after a 2-0 start.
Andrew Weaver scored the Interlachen goal in the 67th minute off a Ricardo Aviles assist. Juan Espinoza stopped seven shots for the Rams.
n Makayla Cody had a meet-best total lift of 270 pounds and was one of five first-place finishers for Interlachen in a season-opening tri-meet at home Wednesday.
The Rams shared first place with Bronson, each scoring 42 points. Keystone Heights was third with 14.
Cody competed in the 169-pound weight class. Interlachen’s other winners were Daisy Masciale (110-pound class), Kaci Polk (119), Cory Lloyd (129) and Jerri Mae Bedenbaugh (199).
Chase Champion (154), Giovanni Johnson (169), Jada Green (183) and Elivia Guitterez all placed second for IHS.